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Thread: Grease questions

  1. #1
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    Grease questions

    So I have been wanting to get some tri flow or singer sewing machine grease for the gears of my sewing machines. My husband suggested I just use some of the grease he uses for his tractor. According to him, a gear is just a gear, no matter if it is in a sewing machine or a tractor.

    I have read about grease before online, and I do remember that even Vaseline can be used in a pinch.
    This has really got me wondering if he is correct. I didn't want to use it until I asked here. I figured y'all would know!

  2. #2
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    you should never use any (grease) on your sewing machines that is not specifically ---SEWING MACHINE OIL---
    the Tractor Grease would gum up your works and cause an expensive trip to a repair shop.
    you can get sewing machine oil at sewing machine dealers, stores like Joannes, on line at Clotilde's, Nancy's notions, Connecting threads---among many others. do not use products that are not meant for sewing machine- that's a costly mistake.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Definitely stick with something like Triflow or the Singer products. Believe me, I'm the queen of "if it works, use it," but having seen what old 3-in-1 oil and gummy black grease look like in old sewing machines, I wouldn't use it. I haven't used Triflow, but that's what I'm going to try when my giant bottle of Singer oil runs out. Been working on that bottle for years!
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  4. #4
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Singer grease is sold in LQSs in a small tube. As the previous posters indicated, Singer lubricant is what you need. I think the book says only once or twice a year for lubricant, but oil much oftener than that. I usually oil after every quilt.

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. I am covered with the regular sewing machine oil; I just need grease for the gears. I guess I will have to order it online. Ughh. That's a bad part of living in the sticks I guess.

  6. #6
    Senior Member tate_elliott's Avatar
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    I'm no expert, however I have used black lithium auto grease on my metal geared Singer 500. This is probably what your husband uses on his tractor. I believe this was suggested by someone on the vintage Singer forum on Yahoo.

    I believe the person above who warned against it was thinking you'd use it in place of sewing machine oil. I have since bought both Triflow oil and a teflon-based grease, although a different brand. I got them both at a bicycle shop.

    I have no hesitation suggesting the black lithium grease or whatever your husband uses. However, for your peace of mind, you could wipe it off once you get the teflon products. And yes, I've heard of using Vasoline in a pinch.

    Tate
    King of the Rocketeers!

  7. #7
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    You never OIL the GEARS on a vintage machine. They're always lubed with either Singer lube, or you can use vaseline. It only takes a small amount.

    I've heard that lithium grease can harden over time and become a problem...
    One day, you'll only be a memory for some people. Do your best to be a good one.

    http://charleeturner.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
    you should never use any (grease) on your sewing machines that is not specifically ---SEWING MACHINE OIL---
    the Tractor Grease would gum up your works and cause an expensive trip to a repair shop.
    you can get sewing machine oil at sewing machine dealers, stores like Joannes, on line at Clotilde's, Nancy's notions, Connecting threads---among many others. do not use products that are not meant for sewing machine- that's a costly mistake.
    There is a difference between sewing machine oil and sewing machine grease/lube. Grease/lube is thick, while oil is slippery. Grease/lube is for gears only; oil goes on any other metal to metal places. While it is possible to use a variety of types of grease/lube, oil is much more picky, and I would only use Tri-Flow or sewing machine oil. Using any other type of oil is asking for trouble down the line. I recently serviced a machine that had been oiled with 3 in one oil.....long story short, it took about two months to loosen up the dried on oil, and yes, I worked on it every day.
    Stephanie in Mena

  9. #9
    Senior Member cmrenno's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Bennett;4895362 I haven't used Triflow, but that's what I'm going to try when my giant bottle of Singer oil runs out. Been working on that bottle for years![/QUOTE]

    My Singer oil turns brown (no longer clear) after a year or so. The minute it turns I throw it out!!! Right now I am using the Zoom Spout Oiler. Its in a clear bottle and I can check to see if it turns color. Its seems to me that it lasts longer than Singer oil! I hope its alright to use it!

    And I also have Singer Lubricant for the gears!
    Last edited by cmrenno; 01-22-2012 at 03:00 PM. Reason: addition

  10. #10
    Super Member LindaR's Avatar
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    I was very interested in this subject....does a treadle need the lube? I was sewing with mine the other day and if froze up completely...panic, but then oiled the shaft and inside of head and it took right off again...am I not oiling enough????
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    So I have been wanting to get some tri flow or singer sewing machine grease for the gears of my sewing machines. My husband suggested I just use some of the grease he uses for his tractor. According to him, a gear is just a gear, no matter if it is in a sewing machine or a tractor.

    I have read about grease before online, and I do remember that even Vaseline can be used in a pinch.
    This has really got me wondering if he is correct. I didn't want to use it until I asked here. I figured y'all would know!
    I was told by my machine repairman that you should never use any grease in these machines other than that which is made for the machine. Our JoAnns quilt handling the grease for these old machines. I was told by a sales person that the grease is going to be discontinued because of the decrease demand. I went to ebay and bought 10 tubes very reasonable.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaR View Post
    I was very interested in this subject....does a treadle need the lube? I was sewing with mine the other day and if froze up completely...panic, but then oiled the shaft and inside of head and it took right off again...am I not oiling enough????
    I'm really not sure which would be better on the treadle mechanism, lubricant or oil. When I was de-gunking mine, I cleaned all the nasty junk out from the bearings on the pitman rod and put in a little new lubricant. I oiled the heck out of all the other metal-on-metal moving parts (putting down some protective newspapers on the floor). It certainly helped the treadle mechanism move freely and quietly.
    I have a screw driver and YouTube--I can fix it!

  13. #13
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LindaR View Post
    I was very interested in this subject....does a treadle need the lube? I was sewing with mine the other day and if froze up completely...panic, but then oiled the shaft and inside of head and it took right off again...am I not oiling enough????
    SHORT VERSION: Only gears need grease/lube; all other metal to metal parts get oil.
    Stephanie in Mena

  14. #14
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I went to the sewing machine shop to get some grease and the old timer in there told me just to use oil... I have been known to use triflow grease on the gears and triflow oil on anything that moves. My mom just put one drop of sewing machine oil in every hole on her machine every once in a while since 1948 and that FW has run mostly pretty good that long - I cleaned it for her for Christmas - she says it has never been serviced before and it now runs like new.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  15. #15
    Super Member k9dancer's Avatar
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    One of the problems with putting oil on gears is that the gears throw the oil off, and if the oil manages to get onto your wiring, can eat through the insulation.
    Stephanie in Mena

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    good info here
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  17. #17
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Treadles are an archaic mechanical device. I grease the treadle plate pivots, the big wheel pivots and the ball bearings.
    Mine moves so free I cannot set the machine with the needle up and have it stay there.

    As for the machines. Metal moving parts get sewing machine oil. Metal gears get Tri-Flo grease. Plastic gears get nothing. Singer motors get Singer motor lube.

    My machines run very smooth and the treadles can be run by one finger in the spoked wheel.

    That's just what I've read and have found to work.



    Joe

  18. #18
    Member Hank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janeite View Post
    So I have been wanting to get some tri flow or singer sewing machine grease for the gears of my sewing machines.
    Please, be sure to read your manual. Some machines require oil in certain locations (usually the oil holes), and other locations (usually the motor) require grease. In general, moving parts with little load can use oil. Bearings, usually require grease.

    Don't use regular oil (motor oil) on sewing machines. A machinist once told me that the oil he recommends on brass bearings and other sliding surfaces was transmission oil. He said to never use regular motor oil. That motor oil will gum up, he said. Transmission oil is designed to not gum up. This is what I use on my 1951 Singer lock-stitch machine. Just oiled the machine the other day for the first time since I've had it. And it really picked up the performance and smoothness and dampened the noise as it operated. Also, I don't have to manually turn the wheel, almost never, to start the machine running anymore. Works great in the places where oil is recommended by the manual. And a whole quart sells for around $3.00. Automatic Transmission oil. Not Motor oil!

    My machine's manual says that two locations need the special Singer grease. Haven't tried that yet. But will possibly take a look and see what actually is being lubricated at these spots to give a recommendation for an alternative replacement for the original Singer grease.

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    Hank, I never would have thought to use transmission oil. Hmmm. I ended up getting some Triflow grease and some Triflow oil.

  20. #20
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    The Tri-Flo is by far the better choice for sewing machines. TF oil for oily places, and TF grease the greasy places. But for Singer motors you need Singer grease. So far I don't know of any substitute for it. It's still available so I'm not really searching too hard.

    Joe

  21. #21
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
    Definitely stick with something like Triflow or the Singer products. Believe me, I'm the queen of "if it works, use it," but having seen what old 3-in-1 oil and gummy black grease look like in old sewing machines, I wouldn't use it. I haven't used Triflow, but that's what I'm going to try when my giant bottle of Singer oil runs out. Been working on that bottle for years!

    GIANT bottle of oil? I have been curious about finding larger containers of oil. Where, when did you get yours?
    Sweet Caroline

  22. #22
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline S View Post

    GIANT bottle of oil? I have been curious about finding larger containers of oil. Where, when did you get yours?
    skip the giant bottle of oil and get Triflow or get some oil used for clocks - the formula for the giant bottle of oil make it dry gummy.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  23. #23
    Senior Member Skyangel's Avatar
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    I cleaned up a Kenmore 117.959 today. It's a 1948 straight stitcher. I used Tri-Flo oil on metal parts and Singer lube in the motor grease cups. The grease cups had hard dry gunk in them and it had a loud squeak when it ran. After running a couple minutes, it got smooth and much quieter. I love bringing an old gal back to life! I do use Tri-Flo grease on gears but this particular machine doesn't have any.

  24. #24
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Skyangel,

    You can also use the Tri-Flow grease on the forks that run on the cam lobes. Slicks 'em up right quick.

    Joe

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